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RE: So how intelligent were troodontids?

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Thomas de Wilde
> I never believed that the size of the brain had an impact on the
> intelligence, since most of the brain is used to control the body, not to
> think.

However, since intelligence takes place in the brain, you need to have a
substantial central processing unit to run that software.

> off course with a brain the size of golf ball, it would be a rather
> instinctive animal (I hate it when somebody calls a dino stupid).
> But group hunters like nychus and raptor surely needed to be rather smart.
First off, there is NO (count them, no) evidence that Velociraptor was a
pack hunter.  There is some evidence that Deinonychus was: see list archives
for details.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence that even Deinonychus engaged
in pack hunting as sophisticated as shown on recent TV shows or relatively
recent movies!  Or, for that matter, as sophisticated as wolf packs or lion

I would *LOVE* that to be the case, but we simply don't have evidence of
this level of behavior.

> A lot of people (probably not on the list) on this planet seem to forget
> that intelligence will only evolve when it's needed. Mankind needed its
> intelligence since it was such a weak animal, and without being able to
> manipulate its environment the homo-genus would have been exstinct.

The intelligence of Homo is not an out-of-the-blue feature, but an
elaboration on the already large brained and intelligent hominine, and
hominid, and anthropoid, and primate conditions.  Each stage has a relative
boost in brain size compared to sister taxa, for various adaptive reasons
(living and moving in the 3-D environment of the trees, for instance).

Also, let's not forget (like a recent Linux commercial does) that chimps and
bonobos are perfectly good tool users (both wood and stone, as recently
discovered), and the human ability to create tools other than nests almost
certainly evolved after then gorilla - (Pan + Hominini) split, but before
the divergence of the Pan-Homo lineages.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796